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Tires - Gravel etc.

Tad_MTad_M Member, Rooster Endurance Member, Level 2 Supporter, POTM
edited February 1 in Main
Hey @gregk and @Matt ,
Greg's writeup and your commentary prompted this post. Any perspective you have would be great.

@Matt, I can't wait for the wheels like the ones you mention to flood the market. I rode the Enve 4.5AR wheels this year. Amazing, but I hate the taping. Sold them to bank the money for a new frame soon. Any other wheels I should consider? Mostly, I'd like some fast race tires for my gravel riding.... 95% of my time is spent on gravel, so I'll never go back to tubes, save for emergency spare.

Raced 43mm Panaracer GravelKing SK (the small knobby pattern, but no side knobs) last year. Fastest in several of my own tests. But in any type of moisture on the dirt, I swear they feel like velcro.

This year: I would possibly try either the long in the tooth Specialized Trigger Pro 2bliss, or the Challenge Gravel Grinder. Any perspective? I know I want the most supple of the Challenge that's still tubless compatible. The Specialized is heavy, but super durable and very popular in the races, so I assume it's fast, but the cousins to that tire got refreshed last year while the Trigger Pro is now a few years old. Any other ideas?

The amazingly supple Compass smooth file treads get great speed/resistance reviews on gravel, but on my roads, I'm scared to spring for them to find they don't work????? I do understand their claims that knobby doesn't help overall speed on loose gravel (a la Rally racing) but damned if my older Kendas with knobbies on each side don't corner alot harder and shure footed than the panaracers without. Dirt hardpack, alternating loose gravel/sand coating, plenty of uneven washboard, and always lots of loose stuff on the corners. These are car traveled roads, not single or dual track paths. I'm happy to buy 2 different tires and test them both/alternate through the year maybe, but that's it. I was hoping you guys could cut down my test time.
visit Michigan Aug. 1-4 - The Sworry Trials
https://www.facebook.com/The-Sworry-Trials-2194532304133322/

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    gregkgregk Member
    edited February 1
    @Tad_M what's your budget? That's going to be a big driver of what I could recommend. And how much tire clearance do you have (or plan to have with the new frame)? And, are you sticking with 700c wheels?

    Edit: My gravel bike standards / buyer's guide should be out on BR next week - hopefully by Tuesday or so.
    M_WareAaronWebstey
    The Dude at Minimal Multisport Podcast, Blog, and YouTube.
    MY PATREON!
  • Options
    MattMatt Member, Administrator, Rooster Endurance Member
    Challenge Gravel Grinder was what I chose to spec on all of the Dark Matter builds in North America for 2019 (38mm for 2x and 42mm for 1x) and they will have all TLR across the range for 2019/20.
    Vittoria Terreno (Zero/Wet/Dry/Mix) was the next best choice, but they didn't have it in multiple widths that I was looking for.

    As for wheels, we opted for the Hed Ardennes GP Plus, but I'd look at the new Vanquish 4.
  • Options
    Tad_MTad_M Member, Rooster Endurance Member, Level 2 Supporter, POTM
    edited February 2
    Clearance for 43 for sure on 700s, my GKs built to 48 on the Enves, and just started to rub once in a while. Thanks @Matt. I'm running 1x. There's a vote for my Challenge pick. @gregk , I spend all day on the gravel, I will pay for the right tires. I look forward to the next article!
    Matt
    visit Michigan Aug. 1-4 - The Sworry Trials
    https://www.facebook.com/The-Sworry-Trials-2194532304133322/
  • Options
    mbrekk44mbrekk44 Member, POTM
    edited February 2
    I just put Maxxis Rambler 38s on my enve 4.5 AR and they are awesome. I had been running the specialized triggers before, never flatted on those. I guess I can’t really tell which rolls faster. But the Maxxis is lighter and has more bite on wet gravel. Both male and female winners at DK200 we’re on the ramblers, so they should work for me.
    Tad_M
  • Options
    gregkgregk Member
    Tad_M said:

    Clearance for 43 for sure on 700s, my GKs built to 48 on the Enves, and just started to rub once in a while. Thanks @Matt. I'm running 1x. There's a vote for my Challenge pick. @gregk , I spend all day on the gravel, I will pay for the right tires. I look forward to the next article!

    @Tad_M Got it. Since you had asked about wheels, too, I thought that you were buying wheels too (which is why I asked about budget).

    To be perfectly honest, I'm not 100% up to speed on all of the latest gravel tires. But I'll give you my thought process...

    Wheels - My favorite for low cost, great feel, and zero problems was the Stan's Arch 29er rims I mentioned (set up tubeless with Michelin Mud 2's... the Jets are great too). Mine were on XT hubs on a gravel bike. Tire width is advertised at 30mm, inflates to 34-35mm on those rims. If I was serious about gravel now, this is probably the route I'd take - unless the route was uber rough and warranted a wider tire (in which case I'd need to do some research). Honorable mention goes to the Hed Ardennes / Belgium rims, which generally set up well with most tires, and I had them fit some tubeless-ready tires perfectly... inflated with a floor pump and easy to install. Similar width to Stan's, probably a bit more expensive. I personally wouldn't go carbon just because gravel bikes get beat up, and more importantly I can't afford them.

    Tires - I tend to like Michelin, Conti, Maxxis, and WTB quite a bit for MTB / trail / CX stuff. I've had a couple lumpy tires from Conti (one MTB, one road), but they got warrantied. Specialized has some good stuff too. I'm less of a fan of Challenge... they had a lot of issues with treads separating from casings. I had personal tires with this, and heard/saw it a bunch in the field (including some crashes as a result). I also had some latex tubes from them that were faulty, and struggled with tire fit on a couple wheels. I'm also a little bit wary of Vittoria, since I've historically had noticeably more punctures with them than Conti, Michelin, etc. Oh, and I forgot to mention Schwalbe. I've heard good things about their newer tubeless stuff. I've had pretty good luck with them in general, save a studded tire that had a wire bead failure... the tire came off the wheel while riding, ejecting the inner tube which wrapped around my fork, then this neat thing happened where the bike completely stopped and I got tossed off into a snow pile. They warrantied the tire, but wouldn't replace my fork which got super messed up from the metal studs chewing into it.
    Tad_M
    The Dude at Minimal Multisport Podcast, Blog, and YouTube.
    MY PATREON!
  • Options
    Tad_MTad_M Member, Rooster Endurance Member, Level 2 Supporter, POTM
    Thanks @gregk . Man that failure with fork damage issue is scary. Glad you're ok. Could have been so much worse in most every other set of circumstances.
    gregk
    visit Michigan Aug. 1-4 - The Sworry Trials
    https://www.facebook.com/The-Sworry-Trials-2194532304133322/
  • Options
    gregkgregk Member
    @Tad_M yeah, it wasn't cool! There was a clear spot in the bead where it had either failed on the road, or was manufactured incorrectly. This was the aftermath...


    Re: Your comments on Compass - the general consensus is that they're very supple and roll fast, but their light models are definitely a bit risky in terms of punctures. I err towards the knobby side, too. Sometimes I'll run a knobby-ish front with low tread rear, (i.e. Michelin Mud front, Jet rear), just to be sure the front end won't wash out. They're about 5 years late making a 40mm version of those tires.

    Check out WTB if you haven't. They have a good line, and I've gotten good customer service.
    Tad_MAaronWebsteyMattKenElPescadoPelado
    The Dude at Minimal Multisport Podcast, Blog, and YouTube.
    MY PATREON!
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    @Tad_M here's my Gravel Guide on Bikerumor.com - published earlier this week (I think... I've been writing so much for them that I'm losing track of time):
    https://bikerumor.com/2019/02/12/2019-gravel-bike-standards-guide-all-you-need-to-know-to-buy-a-new-bike/

    Doesn't cover a TON of specifics on tires, since it's really trying to be a 10,000 ft overview of ALL gravel bike standards.

    Like the road standards article, it doesn't necessarily cover JUST my own views, but also that of the other Bikerumor staff. I.e. it says that you shouldn't buy something today without disc brakes and thru axles... but I just bought an all-road/gravel bike that has both rim brakes and QR axles. 'Cause I'm a grumpy old luddite ;)
    Tad_MAaronWebsteyMatt
    The Dude at Minimal Multisport Podcast, Blog, and YouTube.
    MY PATREON!
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    Tad_MTad_M Member, Rooster Endurance Member, Level 2 Supporter, POTM
    Thanks for all this workup @gregk . Eggsellent! I am trying some Challenge Gravel Grinder tires, and hoping my buddy @P_Cottrell tries some Maxxis so we can swap during testing.

    (I hope I injected the stem cells into the proper end of my downtube - your manual was a bit non-specific)
    gregkMatt
    visit Michigan Aug. 1-4 - The Sworry Trials
    https://www.facebook.com/The-Sworry-Trials-2194532304133322/
  • Options
    @Tad_M it doesn't matter which end of the downtube you inject the stem cells in to, as long as you don't get vaccinated. :#
    Tad_MM_WareMatt
    The Dude at Minimal Multisport Podcast, Blog, and YouTube.
    MY PATREON!

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